Development of a conceptual overview of the strategic management of information technology and an enquiry into information technology strategy formulation in practice : a research study submitted to the Department of Information systems in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Studies at Massey University

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Massey University
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Strategy is not a new term, the word has been in use as far back in the history of man to whenever conflict between man has been evident. Today, the battleground is the business environment and the conflict has arisen through the desire to prosper (for some the need to survive) in a highly competitive and increasingly dynamic situation. Business leaders, academic theorists and researchers in general are now directing a large proportion of their skills and resources toward the topic of strategic management. Their efforts over just a short period (20 or so years), have produced a wide range and variety of approaches, concepts and practical conclusions rapidly increasing in both quantity and scope. This research study tackles the entire subject of strategic management, but in particular it goes beyond traditional boundaries to investigate the equally dynamic and high profile topic of strategic information technology (IT) management and presents both fields within the "strategic management" umbrella. There can be no conclusive result or definitive statement when dealing with an outlook as broad as this. The real benefit and intention for the study is one of education and enlightenment on the history and evolution of strategic management and its effect and influence upon IT management, to its current state of the art. This is presented as a conceptual overview as the result of a review of the literature concerning both corporate and information technology management issues. As a balancing element the study investigates from the New Zealand perspective, the impact and level of penetration that strategic management has achieved within large and successful organisations, which again focuses upon the management of information as a strategic resource. Results from 55 respondents to the study's survey questionnaire show that only eight companies (15%) do not have either an IT or a corporate strategic plan, and that conversely 26 (just under half) do have strategic plans within both corporate and IT realms. This reveals that 47, or an overwhelming majority of 85% of those that responded to the questionnaire, are currently involved in the preparation of strategic plans whether IT or corporate. The high level of interest and involvement in strategic management as indicated by the survey is reflected in the multitude of literary works on the subject and the increased attention to the topic evident in the content of new courses offered by tertiary education institutions. This report will be useful to academics, theorists and practitioners alike and can be utilised as (1) a general annotated bibliography of readily available past literature, (2) a tool for rapidly reviewing how strategic management has evolved, (3) a source of quick reference for trends and significant findings within N.Z. businesses, or (4) where an individual has not yet encroached the subject, a starting point for their appreciation of the topic. It is my desire that this work contribute in some small way to the consideration by all who read it that information and communication are the essence of our everyday lives, and that therefore the adoption of an holistic approach to each and every means for making information more communicable, more valuable, more accurate, more relevant and appropriate, and more easily and effectively communicated whether through the use of technology or not, is both a logical and a most desirable proposition.
Management information systems, Business strategy, Strategic management, Information technology